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Bear Hunting Archery Setup | MeatEater's & Bear Hunting Magazine's Clay Newcomb

Bear Hunting Archery Setup | MeatEater's & Bear Hunting Magazine's Clay Newcomb
November 18, 2020

Clay Newcomb breaks down his bear hunting archery setups. He shares his trad (traditional) bow setup and his compound bow setup. Clay explained all of his bear hunting archery gear including; his bows, his broadheads and his arrows. He also went into detail to explain the importance of shot placement (accuracy) on a bear versus draw weight or broadhead, how simplicity is a good thing when selecting broadheads and how he strives for maximum penetration instead of just arrow speed. Clay Newcomb also gives a great explanation of how to avoid brisket shooting a bear by understanding a bear's anatomy to execute accurate vital shots.

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Gear Mentioned:
Timberghost Takedown G3SS Super Static Recurve - 51# @ 21" https://bit.ly/GW-TG-Recurve_Bow
Coon Hide Silencers https://bit.ly/GW-Beaver_Hide_Silencers
Day 6 400 Spine Arrows - 30" https://bit.ly/GW-D6-400_Spine_Arrows
Day 6 Evo 150 grain Broadhead - cut on impact head https://bit.ly/GW-D6-150_Grain_Broadheads
Iron Will Broadheads https://bit.ly/GW-IW-Iron_Will_Broadheads
Slick Trick for Trad Bow https://bit.ly/GW-Slick_Trick
Viper Tricks for trad bow https://bit.ly/GW-Viper_Trick
Matthews Vertix 60# Pull 28" Draw https://bit.ly/GW-WC-Mathews_Vertix
Gold Tip Arrows https://bit.ly/GW-Gold_Tip_Arrows
Slick Trick 100 Magnums for Whitetail https://bit.ly/GW-Slick_Trick_100_Magnum
Rage Hypodermic Expandables for Whitetail https://bit.ly/GW-Rage_Hypodermic_Broadheads

Show Notes:
- Clay Newcomb's first episode on Gearbox Talk:
- A collection of articles by Dr. Ed Ashby:


Brad: Clay Newcomb cometh back that is right I have the editor owner and publisher of bear hunting magazine he is back on Gearbox Talk he's hopping on the mic to shed some insights into bear hunting the bear hunter is talking all about archery today we're going to break down his trad bow set up we're going to talk about his arrows his broad heads we're going to talk about what compound bow he uses when he uses a compound and we'll spend a good bit of this show talking about shot placement how important that is and how to differentiate bears from any other big game animal you might be pursuing in the woods now if you dig this show check out my first show with Clay where we talk about fall bear hunting it's a fascinating episode also if you enjoyed this episode and you're not subscribed just go ahead and do that now because at Gearbox Talk we're always talking about hunting archery shooting fishing camping hiking and more so it's all topics that you you like you love go ahead and subscribe whether you're on youtube or the podcast if you decide to pick up any of Clay's gear do so through the links because we're going to make a commission off anything you purchase there and I'm going to donate a portion of our commission back into an outdoor nonprofit called raise em outdoors raise them outdoors teach us kids how to shoot a bow how to hunt it's skills that you already have and appreciate and we can help the next generation through your exact purchases how cool is that alright let's dig in this is Gearbox Talk with bear hunter Clay Newcomb

Clay Newcomb several years ago I started seeing this guy slaying bears at the archery film festivals and I started seeing articles from you and that's when I became aware of you and I'm glad today to get you on the show to talk about archery hunting for bear welcome to Gearbox Talk man 

Clay: thanks Brad appreciate it man 

Brad: I'm excited to see this trad bow setup that you got that I've seen all these photos of so we're going to dive right in man what what what's let's look through you know talking through your bow your arrows your broadheads and what you're using in your trad bow set up can you walk us through through the thing I've seen so many pictures of 

Clay: you bet so what I'm what I've been shooting the last several years well actually for almost the last decade is is is some variation of a timber ghost custom this is a recurve but I've shot longbow so kent kent roberts is a bowyer here in arkansas so this is a custom-made boat this bow is 51 pounds at 28 inches so all those videos most of them you know you're seeing pass throughs and whatnot that's from a 51 pound you know recurve this particular bow is I shoot a finger tab as you see this particular bow is what they would call a super static recurve which means it has a very radical curve which gives it a really increased performance in terms of speed this timber ghost g3 ss is actually one of the fastest recurve bows in the world made so it's a it's a takedown bow so you can when I'm riding mules and stuff if I'm going a long ways a lot of times I'll carry an allen wrench with me and I'll have this thing in my backpack and I'll set it up in about two minutes when I get done I mean sometimes when I hunt I'm breaking it down multiple times per day and putting it back together so yeah that's my that's my bow these are genuine arkansas coonhide silencers by the way which is critical to success if you're gonna be anything in your life you need coonhide silencers I didn't even crack a smile 

Brad: No I'm smiling man it's the lag I didn't want to interrupt you you're on such a good roll

Clay: these are so the arrows that I'm shooting with this particular setup are day six 400 spine arrows and the day 6 evo 150 grain broadhead so I believe that this arrow is just over the 500 grain mark and it's it's a overlink it's a to reduce the spine the shaft is pretty long so I i think it's a 30 30 inch arrow but I'm only drawing actually about 27 inches so anyway yeah i'd like a cut on impact head to get that penetration that you want for bears and with using traditional equipment you know got to be using a cut on impact head for sure and I have used the iron will heads before as well they're they're great and and even slick trick viper tricks in my trad bow that's pretty much my setup Brad 

Brad: well a quick question and this is kind of an unanticipated question here but I'm interested on your opinion I talked to James Nash quite a bit about broadheads and we did a full hour-long talk just on broadheads and he's a big trad bow guy too but I i what I've learned and again I'm I i shoot a bow I've been shooting a bow for like three years now but I'm no expert but so I'm always learning and and what I've learned from a lot of these veterans of the whether the travel or compound bow just archery in general is that it seems like people tend to over engineer their setups and and you know as I'm hearing you talk about your setup you know it's it's you're not while it is a it seems like you're not going for over complication like that broadhead some people might if you're new again this shows kind of a lot of times I get newbies listening to Gearbox Talk they might look at that and say man that's not at all what I thought you would need for a a bear can you talk a little bit about the performance you've seen with that that simple broadhead 

Clay: yeah let me show you this right here this is a this is a stone point the authentic stone point that I found in my front yard here in arkansas we've got a big collection of them and that point right there single blade cut on impact head is what developed human civilization more people have been fed by that than have been fed by modern agriculture if you look at the broad scale of humanity and the time we've been on the earth so simple is good a lot of times a lot of things are heavily marketed to appeal to the human eye that really don't have great functional benefit in the field so simplicity is a good way to go and so yeah what you're looking for with a bear is penetration like on on white-tailed deer penetration is not as big a deal because because it's a soft-skinned animal thin haired animal they don't have a lot of fat and their bones aren't thick so like with a white tail you might be prioritizing a really wide cut that's gonna soak up a lot of your kinetic energy okay with a bare thick hair thick fat fairly thick skin big boned what you are prioritizing in your setup is penetration so you want a head that is slowing down that arrow the least amount so you don't want a head that's cutting two and a half inches wide because it's gonna it's gonna slow that arrow down so I'm trying to prioritize getting two holes in a bear yeah that's the main thing to remember prioritize two holes you need a obviously an entry hole you need to hit the bear but you need an exit hole and with a big expandable you're probably not gonna get that most the time so you know cut on impact small is good I i love these just treat a squirrel right outside my office 

Brad: it's all good man it makes it more authentic I i love the if anybody's listening to the podcast they didn't see it but the the similarity and the two broadheads you just picked up are that's such a cool image we may even have to use that for the image for the show but I love that and actually I'm gonna jump ahead to something I wanted to ask you about you know a lot of people are probably looking at this they're trying to research their first bear hunt or or maybe they've hunted in the past and they're trying to sharpen up for an upcoming season let's talk about shot placement real quick where where's the best place on a bear to get that that double penetration to get that ideal you know two holes for for your archery shot 

Clay: right so with a bear the most lethal shot and really the most lethal shot for any big game animal that you're hunting in the world in north america is going to be a double lung shot to be honest with you a heart shot is overrated in my opinion a double lung shot is what you want and you're going to get that most efficiently with a perfectly broadside shot so that bear you you you you're not going to want to shoot him quartered away as much even though you can ideal as broadside and slightly further back than you would on a deer a bear's front shoulders are positioned closer to its neck and head than a white tail if that makes sense and so it appears as if his vitals are slightly further back but they're only further back in in connection to where the shoulder is if that makes sense yeah so you aim further back and then the middle of the like if the body cavity being like vertical you would aim right in the middle like on whitetail deer we've been trained to aim low with archery equipment yeah we aim low because a whitetail is a prey animal and has an extreme flight response to danger so they duck at the sound of danger and spring forward so that's why we aim low you know I mean everybody's like aim at the bottom third of the deer he's going to jump the string as we say le bear is a predator he's a top top predator his flight response is much less in tune than a whitetail so you don't have to aim low does that make sense yeah yeah and man the biggest mistakes that I've seen people make and the blood trails that I've seen fail have been when somebody tried to heart shoot a bear aim real low and close to that front shoulder and they'll basically brisket shoot that bear yeah another thing to consider is that we're so used to hunting deer almost everything that we try to understand inside of shot placement has to do with short-haired ungulates whether it be elk or deer they have short hair they don't have a lot of fat a bear has potentially four inch hair like imagine the silhouette of a bear he's like basically a big puff ball with a smaller core that's actually his body and vitals because he's got potentially four inches of hair which that would be a lot but potentially he's also got a layer of fat depending upon the time of year you kill him kill him in the fall he's gonna have a lot of fat and then the body cavity starts and then the vitals begin so you may need to aim six inches above the silhouette baseline of that bear to even get in the vitals if that makes sense Brad yeah on a white-tailed deer you might aim two to three inches above the silhouette line of that deer to hit the vitals so big mistake people make is shooting too low too far forward and and then trying to shoot a bear in an awkward position this is the biggest thing is that bears do stuff that ungulates can't do a bear could walk in and sit down on his butt he could lay down flat on the ground he could stand up on a tree he could cup his body where his front shoulders and his butt and hips are closer to you than his spine and rib cage he could make like a c almost and yeah dog that's exactly right and then you put your pen right behind his shoulder and shoot and you've got shot him you're with me yeah so like a whitetail deer is this like kind of rigid animal for the most part you can see all the bends in his body because of his short hair a bear is like this camouflaged animal covered in like this big fluffy pillowcase you know and so it's hard to discern exactly the anatomy so you just have to be very careful with shot placement on bear 

Brad: reminds me of turkey turkeys are kind of like that as you rotate them around it's hard to see what's under all that especially if they're puffed up you know it gets more difficult on a you know a lot of people talk about deer with their leg movement because that shoulder blade rotates do you have to think about that as much with the bear since that leg so much further forward or is it really just trying to make sure you're getting far enough back 

Clay: you know yeah you want to watch that shoulder because they've got a wide range of movement I mean american be kind of kneel down eating acorns or whatever and have that shoulder cover and half of the vitals just like a deer I mean it's it's it's nuanced you know when I say that front shoulders forward I mean it's not it's not dramatic it's just slightly more forward in comparison to the head and neck if I could say it that way 

Brad: yeah so the other thing I noticed and and correct me if I'm wrong here but I think when you started off on your trad bow you said it was 51 pounds 

Clay: right 

Brad: and you're shooting a heavier arrow than I think a lot of people would right 

Clay: well with trad I would say that's fairly common 

Brad: but but for the bear what I'm pointing out is that people tend to think like oh I got to shoot a higher poundage and and they focus on that aspect of their archery setup whereas really like from talking to you and James I'm noticing that like you're shooting a heavier arrow which James talked about when he shoots a 3d target he'll knock it over sometimes it's like that heavy of a shot right do you think that's more important than than focusing on you know shooting a heavy draw weight 

Clay: oh yeah for sure I mean for sure the main focal point with any archery hunting is going to be shot placement over anything over broadhead over anything is you being accurate you know knowing the anatomy of that animal you know and the scenarios that could happen in hunting and making that good shot placement that's the main thing for sure but as we know from I mean this is just physics this isn't opinion but the weight of an arrow in the physics equation of a of a vector which momentum is the is the momentum is the is the calculation that best describes penetration okay and maybe you've heard that before there was a famous article written by Ed Ashby where we always talk about kinetic energy and but that's actually not the best equation for understanding penetration best equation for understanding penetration is momentum and momentum is more fueled by the mass the weight of the arrow and so essentially weight gets you better penetration excellent faster arrow flying lighter excuse me a lighter arrow flying faster will penetrate less than a heavier arrow flying slower so you know 

Brad: yeah really important distinction that I wanted to call out because I kind of put it together as you were talking through your setup there's some commonalities here and if you're really learning this stuff for the first time that's something important to focus on because it could it could change how you practice it could change how you set up your bow so that's that's multiple experts I've had on Gearbox Talk now to affirm that I appreciate that I i wanted this final question here I know you you kind of again people know you for shooting trad bow but I believe you changed it up this year and you're shooting a compound what did you move to what's your what compound bow did you choose for this season 

Clay: you know Brad I grew up shooting a compound you know I mean I got a compound bow when I was in the third grade a Hoyt bow back in the early 90s and you know I i really just started shooting trad heavily about seven years ago but this year I decided that I was going to eliminate one of the variables in my hunting and I was going to shoot compound exclusively which is what I'm doing this year and I'm i'm shooting a matthews verdicts matthew's verdict 60 pounds I think I pull about 28 I have a 28 inch draw and I'm currently just using some gold tip arrows and for whitetail I'm well I usually use slick trick 100 magnums that's been my go-to compound broadhead for years which is a short ferruled four-blade broadhead but because I'm doing so much whitetail hunting this year I am messing around with some rage hypodermic expandables which I haven't shot in years and I would not recommend for bear right but for whitetail you know I mean it's obviously a great head for whitetail but again a thicker skinned animal I I've heard too many negative things happen yeah with and not to say you couldn't kill one a bear with a expandable people do it all the time but if you did it if you shot a bear with an expandable 10 times I think you would have failure more than if you had a standard fixed blade broadhead right it's a lot to go through zero failure like I mean you know assuming you hit the bear where you were trying to hit him 

Brad: totally alright that's from the editor and publisher of bear hunting magazine himself so Clay thank you for coming on and talking about your archery hunting setup for bear man I appreciate it 

Clay: right on Brad thank you 

Brad: alright take care

thank you Clay and be sure to check out my first episode of Clay also fascinating and you know I'm not much of a bear hunter and then I haven't done a lot of it I have a great appreciation for it and I want to do it and I love talking to guys like Clay because I get to absorb a ton of knowledge I get to share that knowledge with you all and awesome show I just had a really great time learning from this guy and now I need to go put boots on the ground maybe I'll do it this winter put some boots on the ground and apply some of these new tactics and skills that Clay just taught us alright subscribe to Gearbox Talk if you have not you don't want to miss an episode Clay's already been on here twice we're talking to people about topics you care about that's hunting fishing hiking camping all that good stuff so go ahead and subscribe if you're on youtube or the podcast log some time on go wild and share what you thought i'd love to hear questions that you think I missed things I should have asked about or people that you want to see coming on the show so go to go wild hit the plus sign log time outdoor podcast you'll see Gearbox Talk right there it's really easy to at mention me Brad Luttrell and you give me your thoughts if you don't mention me though I there's a decent chance I'm gonna miss it there's so much people so many people tagging podcasts on the platform sometimes I don't see them I try every now and then to go out and search but I miss a few so go ahead and tag me to make sure I don't miss yours I appreciate all of the feedback that you guys give me and I mean that's why I want you to tag me so I can see it also I appreciate the time you come and spend with us on Gearbox time Gearbox Talk each week I know that time is valuable I i love seeing the numbers growing that means we're adding value for people through the show so I i appreciate your time thank you very much as for today though I'm out

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